Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Yesterday I was able harness my fear and use it's energy to power through a bunch of home repairs. Go me! I finished the trim in the bathroom upstairs...and painted my son's room. When we bought this place, I allowed the kids to pick any color they wanted for their bedrooms. Abby has painted her room 3 or 4 different color schemes in the last few years. Right now, It is Turquoise and steel grey...They look nice together and her room will wait. But Ben...Ben picked one color scheme and has stuck with it. It was Forest Green with brown and black camo spots! I'll spare you all the metaphors about camouflaging the camouflage... And this right on the heels of my new "open" self who blogs! It would take more than a coat of paint to cover over my thoughts...

Anyway, back to my story. We had just reached our savings goal, and were ready to move forward with our move forward. All along, I have been voraciously reading any written words about Belize. I found forums, and pages, and sites! Some were more uh...friendly and optimistic than others. (That's a whole other post.) I even looked up stats in my old handy dandy set(s) of encyclopedias! I have one set that is older than the country of Belize! It thinks that Belize is still Honduras! My fact finding has been great! If you know me, then you know I love to read and learn...I found myself downloading laws and bills from the Government of Belize Web Portal. http://www.belize.gov.bz/ Fitting. I am the only US citizen I have ever met who watches live congressional hearings on cable as if they were action packed adventure movies. Why not also be the only one who reads the entire law structure of Belize?!? Let me tell you, it's a little dry, but very informative!

Through the government site I learned that our plan to buy a motor home and pack it full of stuff to drive the 3000 miles to Belize through Mexico might not be a good one. I knew the roads were not paved in most places. But heck...I was raised in the Laurel Mountains! 25 years ago, there were a lot more red dog roads than paved ones there too! With a 1978 International Scout, 4 wheel drive, standard transmission, high clearance auto...there is never a reason to be stuck anywhere! But I hadn't calculated duty. Duty. DooDee...KaKa.

You see, the Government of Belize (GOB) views our US autos as luxury goods. And as luxury goods, our autos are subject to up to 63% duty. So if we bought a 20K motor home, and tried to drive it into Belize to keep it there it would be almost 13K! There are loopholes in the law...just like all laws. We could bring it in and say we were only keeping it there for a month. Then we wouldn't have to pay the duty. After that month, we could extend it's stay for up to 6 months duty free. But eventually, we would either pay the duty or get rid of it. As we are looking to set up residency in Belize, I don't think that our first move should be to avoid the law. Pay up or fly in. I think we'll fly and buy some one's old beater when we hit the ground. That way our round trip ticket is all we're out. GOB requires that all visitors either pay them an amount they have determined it will take to ship you back out to your native country if need be...or that everyone enter with a ticket home. I believe that our airline ticket home will be essentially useless, unable to book, but still way cheaper than a $33,000 motor home. Once we have established residency, we will fly in and out of Cancun for 1/3 the cost. After all, we should have a Belizean Beater to drive by then!

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